The Earth Is A Planet of Bugs: Natural History Museum Reveals Its Secrets
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The Earth Is A Planet of Bugs: Natural History Museum Reveals Its Secrets
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  • 승인 2003.06.04 00:00
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What do you know about bugs? Horrible, ugly-looking creatures that always exploit on human’s blood and food? Or dear lovable creatures that bring honey to our table? To bring the life of bugs closer to people, the Natural History Museum at Ewha has launched an exhibition titled "Planet of Bugs" on May 26 in the Special Exhibition Hall on the fourth floor. The exhibition is expected to run until April 30 of next year.
The title, which hints that bugs are dominating ?ur planet Earth, might sound a bit offending to we humans. However, once you read the passage written on the entrance to the exhibition hall­Bugs occupy 75 percent of all animal species in the world­you soon realize what the title represents is not an exaggeration after all.
Surprises continue. Bugs came to the Earth way before humans! Bugs were born during the Carboniferous Period under the Paleozoic Era, which is 400 million years before the humans actually appeared on the Earth. Over millions of years, many species failed to adapt to the changing environment, thus becoming extinct. However, bugs have developed numerous ways to protect themselves from outer dangers: developing protective colorings and wings, adjusting to nocturnal lifestyles, and making the size of body small so that they would hide themselves quickly and easily without having to eat a lot.
Having spent so much time on the Earth co-existing with humans, bugs have unconsciously penetrated into humans lives. The "Bugs and Our Culture" section clearly shows this. It deals with how bugs have been closely linked with our livelihood from the ancient times. For instance, many of the accessories such as hairpins, brooches, hinges, wall tapestries have modeled after butterflies and beetles. Also, "samo," which is a hat that officials during the Joseon Dynasty used to wear, resembles the wings of cicada, which was thought to possess the five virtues in Confucian doctrines.
The exhibition covers many fascinating aspects of a bug"s life. One example would be "A World Through Bee"s Eyes." While the three primary colors of humans are red, green, and blue, to bees they are green, blue, and ultraviolet rays. With the ultraviolet rays, they can easily identify where the honey is hidden. Scientists grasped this unique feature of bees and invented a camera called BeeCAM, which enables us to see in the way that bees do.
Most of the displayed items are stuffed specimen, but two kinds of caged living insects are showcased for the viewers to spectate: Grammostola rosea, which is commonly known as a tarantula, and Teleogrylino emma, a large cricket from the subtropical zone.
The efforts of the museum to make connections between bugs and humans can clearly be seen. However, limited space and facilities showed to what lengths "effort" is permitted to go without technical support. The Special Exhibition Hall, where this exhibition is being held, is only about the same size as an average classroom­and overall, the exhibition lacked a sort of fascination that viewers might have expected beforehand.Yoon Suk-joon, an official at the Natural History Museum responds, "Though the space allotted for this exhibition is small, it carries a lot of meaningful facts and messages."

arielle@ewha.ac.kr

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